basics

last spring, it finally hit me. i was at a client meeting, for some reason looked down at my feet and noticed the battered old pair of converse i was wearing. like, REALLY noticed them for the first time. i realized that my clothing style hadn’t exactly evolved with my lifestyle, and i was stuck in that awkward phase between youth and adulthood. i was still dressing for college, but it began to sink in that graduating and advancing in my professional career meant i couldn’t get away with that anymore.

i’ve always been a big fan of the ‘model off-duty’ look. you know the style – messy hair, skinny pants, casual tee and not much else. but i guess that’s fine when you A) look like a model or B) don’t have anywhere important to go. high-fashion has never been my thing, and i still don’t feel like i should let the industry i work in define my style in order to get the jobs i’d be good at. but even though high heels or super trendy eyecatchers will never be right for me, i’ve realized that ‘dressing the part’ can take on other meanings. it can also be a sign of respect and it can translate your inner maturity and credibility to the image people see at first glance.

when i found myself hesitating and dubbing in front of my closet more and more often, i decided it was time for a change. roughly around this time, i discovered the incredibly awesome website INTO MIND, run by anushka rees from berlin. she talks about wardrobe diagnostics and basically created a step-by-step guide to purge your old wardrobe from anything you don’t wear or need anymore, and to build up the perfect capsule wardrobe from scratch. it was an eye-opener and i devoured every single article in one sitting, leading me to the conclusion that i was up for a major wardrobe intervention.

so that is how i found myself at the start of this particular project, which i’ll be translating into a series of posts on this blog over the next couple of months. on march 5 i will be turning 30, and my goal is to have created the ideal capsule wardrobe before that time. meaning – i will take all the necessary steps to discover and analyze my personal style, to get rid of anything in my wardrobe that doesn’t fit into that definition, and to build up a wardrobe with basics and essentials that will form the foundation of my new life as a ‘real adult’…

for those of you who will be following along, i intend to make this series interesting for you too. if you’ve been reading this blog for a while and you happen to like it, that means you can sort of identify with who i am, how i live my life and what i like. perhaps you are also at a crossroads in your life or your wardrobe could use some deeper thought. in any case, i’ll be sharing lots of specific tips, ideas and information that you might find useful, too. i’ll be involving some of my favorite brands who were happy to partner up with me for this particular project, so maybe you’ll even find some inspiration that you can apply directly to your own wardrobe.

to end this rather long introduction to this new series (which you are able to access directly and in its entirety by clicking HERE), i want to start with the first step of analyzing personal style. if you’re like me, you might have several pinterest boards devoted to style and hundreds of images pinned together give you a pretty clear view of what you like. but that doesn’t mean that any of the examples you love also apply to you. the first thing i did was think hard about what my actual life is like, as opposed to my ‘dream life’. i might be pinning spectacular dresses and high-heeled boots, but i’ll never wear them on those exhausting design-spotting city trips or running around cobblestoned antwerp from client meeting to client meeting.

roughly speaking, i (and plenty of other people) have two different ‘moments’ in life – those while working, and those during free time. the problem is that the distinction between the two for me is very nuanced. i work in an industry where proper work attire is only subtly different from outfits worn during the weekend. i needed to identify those slight nuances between both, so that i can be aware of them whenever i dress myself or buy a new item of clothing. another issue i’ve heard a lot of people struggle with, is that they tend to keep buying the same items over and over again. i can’t tell you how many t-shirts i have in my closet, but they are of no good to me when i want to dress for giving a professional presentation. i need to know which items i’ll need for specific situations.

to that end, i tried to distill the essence of the different situations in two moodboards. the first is one with images of outfits that i deem ‘office appropriate.’ i could show up at a client meeting dressed like this, feeling confident and respectful of our professional relationship. i gravitated towards images that show structured coats and blazers, as they tend to make any outfit less casual and slightly more formal. as far as colors go, i prefer muted tones but perhaps like to add a little bit of texture or interesting prints to keep the look from becoming too boring. the second moodboard show a couple of outfits i wouldn’t mind wearing during the weekend or after hours. i noticed a lot of the same textures, prints and colors in both styles, but the difference lies mainly in the structure and combination of different items.

it might not seem like a big step, but already analyzing the hundreds of images that i’ve pinned over the past few years and honestly appraising them in view of my two main ‘modes of life’, was super enlightening. next i’ll be making a list of specific items that would fit into both styles, and use that list to purge my existing wardrobe from elements that don’t fit in. so don’t forget to check back in next week for chapter two!

image sources moodboard one, from left to right, top to bottom – 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6
image sources moodboard two, from left to right, top to bottom – 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5
more photos that i found inspiring for ‘weekend style’ on this PINTEREST BOARD
more photos for ‘week style’ on this other PINTEREST BOARD

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my name is stephanie duval, and i am a storyteller. this blog is where i share my favorite stories about design, travel, fashion and the nice things in life.

 

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